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 ELDERLY AND ED

ANCHOR LEAD:   ELDERLY FOLKS DON’T FARE VERY WELL WHEN IT COMES TO EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT VISITS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Older people need to be evaluated by experts in their care when they present to the emergency department to assure the best outcome, a recent European study concluded.  Michelle Bellantoni, a geriatrics expert at Johns Hopkins, says older folks have very specific issues.

BELLANTONI:  I think the biggest problem is that they have an extensive medical history and multiple medications that are being taken that have an impact on their diagnosis and their treatment plan in that emergency department.  A lot of effort is needed to understand that patient who presents.           :16

The US is also hamstrung when it comes to information.

BELLANTONI: One of the challenges that we have in our country that they did not have in this European study is the limited access to the medical history, the medical information.  Because we don’t have a medical record that follows the patient, either electronically or by other means, we have to reinvent the wheel when a patient presents to the emergency department.          :20

Bellantoni says everyone should make an effort to have a complete medical record of their own.  I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.


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